NZ Tax Haven Inc – of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

Written By: - Date published: 9:19 am, April 4th, 2016 - 92 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, capitalism, International, john key, national, tax - Tags:

Panamanian Law Firm Mossack Fonseca is having a very bad week. The mass leaking of a huge numbers of papers have shown what many of the oligarchs of the world are doing to preserve their ill gotten gains.  Radio New Zealand has described the situation:

A huge leak of confidential documents has revealed how the rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth.

Eleven million documents were leaked from one of the world’s most secretive companies, Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which sets up companies in offshore tax havens.

The BBC reports the papers show how Mossack Fonseca has helped clients launder money, dodge sanctions and evade tax. The company says it has operated beyond reproach for 40 years and has never been charged with criminal wrong-doing.

The documents show links to 72 current or former heads of state in the data, including dictators accused of looting their own countries.

The data contains secret offshore companies linked to the families and associates of Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak, Libya’s former leader Muammar Gaddafi and Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad.

It also reveals a suspected billion-dollar money laundering ring that was run by a Russian bank and involved close associates of President Putin.

The Financial Review has reported that New Zealand has played a part in what has occurred:

When New Zealand Prime Minister John Key flew into Malta for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in November 2015, he already knew he shared some important views with his host, Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, about the importance of keeping the tax secrets of foreign investors.

Both countries are quiet achievers in the ranks of global tax havens, and both are determined to keep it that way.

While Malta has been fiercely resisting pressure to close tax avoidance loopholes used by foreign companies, including Australian firms, to move profits out of the European Union, New Zealand has fought just as hard to protect its laws that make foreign profits tax-free and invisible for beneficiaries of its offshore trusts.

But what Key didn’t know, as he and Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull mingled with Muscat at CHOGM, was how deep those links really ran.

Just weeks earlier, Muscat’s chief-of-staff, Keith Schembri, and Malta’s energy minister, Konrad Mizzi, had used New Zealand’s secrecy laws to set up two offshore trusts. These were to be linked to a secret Dubai bank account and to two Panama companies that Schembri and Mizzi had set up in 2013 through a Panamanian law firm.

The revelation of the New Zealand trusts has triggered ongoing crisis for Muscat’s government, but it also increases pressure on New Zealand to tighten its tax loophole for foreign trusts.

Makes you wonder why New Zealand is so disinterested in closing the loopholes that let this occur.  Fran O’Sullivan recently commented on this:

But it is notable that one of the reasons why New Zealand has yet to follow Australia and bring in rigorous laws to clamp down on multinationals which are not paying significant tax here is because this country is competing for investment.

The Key Government is proceeding at a very slow pace indeed, which is rattling New Zealand businessmen like Spark CEO Simon Moutter, who is adamant that it is unfair to local companies that they have to compete against offshore players who have a tax advantage.

So it looks like New Zealand is being used to hide the investments of the 1% at least some of which is from dubious sources. And they do not even pay tax.

The National Party. Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1% …

92 comments on “NZ Tax Haven Inc – of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%”

  1. Fustercluck 1

    Here you see the motivation for the flag referendum. It is of paramount importance to maintain NZ’s almost unique parliamentary dictatorship if it is to fulfill its role on behalf of the global 0.0001%. A republic with stuff like an independent judiciary and an executive accountable to the people, the courts and the constitution is anathema to our current position, that of lackey to Key’s City of London finance capital cronies.

    • aerobubble 1.1

      Explains lots. Why NZ dollar is so heavily traded, why we have a risk premium and why we rely on commodity exports, and why political commentators do the neo-lib of talking blandly how people are rational, party officers being more motivate hold more radical positions, etc etc all simpliest obvious discussions of form avoiding any substantial subject matter.

  2. Ad 2

    This will have a long deep roll to it, a real earth shake in political leadership circles.

    Spectacular journalism.

  3. Keith 4

    Get the sickening feeling that the uber rich ex Merrill Lynch wonder boy, John Key, just happened to land on his feet as PM just a little too conveniently in our dirty little tax haven for who knows whose ill gotten gains.

    Welcome to New Zealand, the no questions asked, tax free money laundromat. Even Dubai and Panama turned these crooks away, but not little bent ol’ NZ.

    Makes you wonder doesn’t it, how much cash are our clever National Party millionaires hiding away and why?

    • Fustercluck 4.1

      You nailed it!

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      Makes you wonder doesn’t it, how much cash are our clever National Party millionaires hiding away and why?

      QFT

      The National Party is inherently corrupt. This is not because the members are corrupt, although I’m sure that some are, but because the policies that National promote and enact support and reward corruption.

      • Bob 4.2.1

        “Makes you wonder why New Zealand is so disinterested in closing the loopholes that let this occur”
        How long have these loopholes existed?

        “Politics is inherently corrupt. This is not because the members are corrupt, although I’m sure that some are, but because the policies that politicians promote and enact support and reward corruption”
        FIFY

        • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1.1

          No, you broke it. I said National for a reason – they’re corrupt.

          Note the bribe to the Saudis for a FTA?
          Note the Speaker not holding National Ministers to the question?
          Note how many National Ministers have used their position to promote their own business?
          Note the crony capitalism?

          The list goes on and on.

        • AmaKiwi 4.2.1.2

          “How long have these loopholes existed?”

          I am almost positive allowing anonymous trusts for non-residents was one of the first actions of the National government in 2009. I am asking my Labour MP to check it out. If I am correct, it will make today’s National denials an obvious pack of lies.

  4. madtom 5

    Naked Capitalism’s Richard Smith has been revealing relationships between the New Zealand government bureaucracy and the less-savoury side of international money transfers and business scams for years now. He appears to be right on top of this latest, and then some. In addition to citing numerous and reliable sources, he does a lot of independent research, so his work is thorough and authoritative, not emotional rabble-rousing.

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/03/new-zealand-foreign-trusts-and-the-unaoil-scandal-more-chickens-coming-home-to-roost-and-theyre-big.html

    For more detail on this and similar not-reported-in-the-Herald news over the past few years, just click on the “New Zealand” topic down in the right-hand column of any NakedCap page, where many ongoing topics are listed alphabetically, and there are 65 entries under New Zealand.

  5. TC 6

    If you believe key, turnbull etc didnt know how extensive this is then I have a few bridges to sell.

    Working practical ones not dudes with the first name simon

  6. joe90 7

    Iceland’s prime minister, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, accused of hiding millions of dollars of investments offshore, walks out of an interview over tax haven questions.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2016/apr/03/icelands-prime-minister-walks-out-of-interview-over-tax-haven-question-video?CMP=share_btn_tw

  7. joe90 8

    Lotsa puckering, I reckon

    IAN CAMERON
    Father of David Cameron

    The father of Great Britain’s current Conservative Prime Minister died in 2010, having amassed a fortune in smart investments. According to the documents, “Cameron helped create and develop Blairmore Holdings Inc. in Panama in 1982 and was involved in the investment fund until his 2010 death.” Blairmore was valued at $20 million in 1998 and was promoted to investors in brochures as “not liable to taxation on its income or capital gains.” The promotional literature added that Cameron’s fund “will not be subject to United Kingdom corporation tax or income tax on its profits

    http://fusion.net/story/287227/famous-presidents-shell-companies-trove/

  8. RedLogix 9

    Combine this with the flood of dubious flight capital out of Asia laundered in the Auckland property market … and it’s hard to avoid thinking Mr Merchant Banker Boy isn’t up to his eyeballs in it somewhere.

    It’s very unlikely that he’s been stupid enough to be involved in any direct manner that would leave a paper trail. He’s too smart and experienced for that. But certainly his history and his actions (or lack thereof) suggest his role has been to enable this mess.

    After all was it not one of his ideas that Auckland should become some sort of ‘finance hub’ of the Asia Pacific world? At the time everyone more or less thought the idea ‘barking mad’, but now we get a glimpse of what he really had in mind.

    • Ad 9.1

      He can write a whole new Theory K!
      (For anyone who remembers the ’80s)

    • AmaKiwi 9.2

      There is ALWAYS a paper/digital trail in today’s world.

      The only way to avoid it is to hold cash (folding money), gems, gold, etc. and bury it in your garden. These millions of dollars are nothing more than computer entries.

  9. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 10

    Just weeks earlier, Muscat’s chief-of-staff, Keith Schembri, and Malta’s energy minister, Konrad Mizzi, had used New Zealand’s secrecy laws to set up two offshore trusts.

    What secrecy laws?

    We calling for the repeal of the Privacy Act?

    • Anno1701 10.1

      “We calling for the repeal of the Privacy Act?”

      doesnt apply “offshore”….

    • adam 10.2

      Hell yeah. Lets come up with something new, as it obvious they only there to protect business on the dodge.

      Because if you missed the memo The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell, we are being spied on.

      You are probably being spied on for responding to me, or Bill, or Colonial Viper, or weka just to name a few.

    • AmaKiwi 10.3

      “What secrecy laws?”

      Do a Google search, “NZ tax haven.” It’s very simple to understand.

      This has nothing to do with the Privacy Act, which has already been rendered worthless by Key allowing the SIS and GCSB to have any information they want from any source without a warrant and without telling anyone they have copied the information.

      This is about foreigners, NON-residents, setting up trusts which the IRD cannot monitor. The Privacy Act is about screwing us residents. This about non-residents screwing their home countries.

  10. Bearded Git 11

    I think I would search the 11 million documents for “John Phillip Key”.

  11. Murray Simmonds 12

    This could get very, VERY interesting.

    Time to sell all my shares in Teflon Coatings inc, I think.

  12. Chooky 13

    could be a reason why Nicky Hager’s computers were seized?….to find out what he knew and had on them?…

    …certainly shows why we need investigative journalists!…and why they must be protected from the police harrassment and state persecution and state corruption

    • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 13.1

      I love connecting dots.

      Did you know that the woman who cleans John Key’s house is Panamanian? Coincidence? Her husband’s favourite footballer is Lionel Messi, a Mossack Fonseca client. Coincidence? Messi plays for Barcelona. Legend says that Barcelona was founded by Hercules, a Greek.

      Boom!

      • Molly 13.1.1

        Nicky Hager has been working on international tax havens for a few years now, as part of the ICIJ journalistic team. This is common knowledge, and ICIJ has broken the story.

        Given that the Herald is just reprinting Washington Post articles, this NZ link is not highlighted. But it is relevant for us here in NZ, knowing the recent debacle around Nicky Hager’s illegal computer data seizure by the police.

        • Chooky 13.1.1.1

          +100….so I was correct!….thanks Molly for that valuable link!…worth going through the names of the incredible and brave international journalists …Hager is definitely there!

          …maybe the police and this government have more questions to answer as regards the persecution of Nicky Hager!

          ….cover up of NZ government and politician corruption?

          • rhinocrates 13.1.1.1.1

            This from Giovanni Tiso:

            “Do you remember? Foreign tax havens was also the thing Odgers minded Hager investigating and hoped he would be chop-chopped for by Russians.”

            Screechy McHooton’s been commenting again… funny that he’s not on this thread enlightening us, since he’s such a good friend of Odgers and has discussed this very issue with her.

      • North 13.1.2

        Spontaneous boom in your head stale biscuit. I wonder if we’ll see Little Churchill suddenly up and resigning ?

      • adam 13.1.3

        The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell – Bro – crack pipe – put it down and walk away.

        Sheesh not been a good week man, it just not been a good few weeks, for your Tory idiots.

  13. Chooky 14

    regarding corruption and theft of the state by corporations this is very interesting ( posted yesterday by CV on Open Mike)

    https://www.rt.com/shows/keiser-report/338108-episode-max-keiser-896/

    …In the second half, Max interviews Kerry-Anne Mendoza of TheCanary.co …

  14. Colonial Viper 15

    Taxes are only for you poor waged and salaried working saps, and for Kiwi small businesses struggling to get by month to month.

    Not for the 0.1% who can afford the best accountants and private wealth bankers in town.

  15. Whispering Kate 16

    Big question, who is the leaker?? Its a huge leak so I hope he/she is keeping themselves safe, they will be hunted to the furthest corners of the planet by protectors of the 1% . No wonder the PM keeps widening the security powers here. It gets murkier by the minute.

    • Sabine 16.1

      they mention the whistleblower here…..apparently did not ask for money or favors

      a good run down on events, who is implicated etc.

      from the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, maybe one of the most prestigious Newspapers in Germany.
      http://panamapapers.sueddeutsche.de/en/

    • Colonial Viper 16.2

      Technically, the 1% are the professional enablers, advisors and senior managers who act to protect the wealthy power elite – the 0.01%.

      • aerobubble 16.2.1

        But wait a moment. JUst think about it. You mean the richest people would rather hire people to keep them rich by avoiding paying tax, and not hire people to make them richer. i.e funding progressive capitalism over conservative capitalism. So under investment, social infrastruture, all now require taxation and those who ovid paying are being target whereas those who like Buffett invedt in great managers are not worried.

        Its like Trump, rich Americians have built this right wing republician machine, all geared to make it harder to elect progressives, and then they wonder why progressives get leaner and meaner. i.e Social conservative would be better served by those that hold the line rather those who stop progressive einevitable.

        Trump is just exposing the corrupt Republician processes.

    • Mosa 16.3

      The leaking of information seems the only way we can find out what is being hidden or supressed by this government
      How sad is that!!

  16. Chooky 17

    Good report from Kathryn Ryan on RNZ

    ‘New Zealand’s role in massive tax haven leak’

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/201795645/new-zealand's-role-in-massive-tax-haven-leak

    “Millions of documents from a Panamanian law firm show how the world’s rich and famous, including world leaders, hide their money offshore – including setting up foreign trusts in New Zealand to avoid paying tax. The papers reveal the Maltese Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi, and the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Keith Schembri, have set up trusts in New Zealand which under our laws do not have to pay any tax on their Panama income. The revelations have caused a political storm in Malta. Nine to Noon speaks to Malta Independent columnist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Professor Craig Elliffe from Auckland University’s business school explains how New Zealand laws have allowed people overseas to use local companies to avoid paying tax.”

  17. Murray Simmonds 18

    Note however, that THE USA is now the tax haven of choice:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-27/the-world-s-favorite-new-tax-haven-is-the-united-states

    So that’s why you won’t find many American tax-dodgers in the newly released leak. Why bother with offshore havens when there are better havens in the USA already?

    Try connecting those dots, folks.

    • joe90 18.1

      This too.

      But one country has been absent from the discussion: the United States of America. No American politicians have been named (yet) in the leak. Is this because, to paraphrase media critic Adam Johnson, American politicians are “pure and good and incorruptible?”

      Unlikely. What’s more probable is that US- Panamanian relations over the 39 years that MF has existed have contributed to a culture where Americans do not feel comfortable storing their ill-gotten gains in the Central American country.

      http://eoinhiggins.com/no-us-names-in-panama-papers-leak-why-not/

    • AmaKiwi 18.2

      One of the best US tax haven states is Delaware, a tiny state virtually owned by the DuPont family. Can you think of any famous Americans from Delaware?

      Joe Biden, Vice President Biden to you.

      Wyoming is another thinly populated but very popular US tax haven state. Famous Americans from Wyoming? Dick Cheney.

      Third on our list of US tax haven states is Nevada, the state the Mob built.

  18. One Two 19

    ‘The Opal files’ are decades old

  19. Molly 20

    Nicky Hager has been working on this for a while now. As Chooky mentions above, does add another layer to the issue of his computers being seized.

    But I think his name should be mentioned in any article that references the work that ICIJ has been doing in this area.

  20. Michael Smythe 21

    Is this what John Key was really meaning when he said New Zealand could become the Switzerland of The South?
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11611816

  21. Anno1701 22

    New Zealand is one of the easiest places in the world to get a banking license or form an Offshore Finance Company , ESPECIALLY if its an “offshore” one..

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/69220090/ICBC-New-Zealand-breaches-conditions-of-bank-registration-again

    http://www.interest.co.nz/news/60461/entities-peddling-unregulated-nz-offshore-finance-companies-world-tout-their-benefits-and

    “The organization of this program provides you an online bank, that is based in New Zealand. Your OFC can provide commercial and private banking services with very little or no restrictions to a worldwide customer base. Your New Zealand company can offer the same services as any fully licensed bank, however the word “bank” cannot be used in the entity name, alternatives such as “Credit Union” and/or “Savings & Loan” are often used”

    http://www.offshorecorporation.com/newzealandofc

    “Your New Zealand company can offer the same services as any fully licensed bank, however the word “bank” cannot be used in the entity name” how sketch does this part sound !

  22. Chooky 23

    so they persecute and stop poor young New Zealand university students who havent paid their university loans and interest on their student loans at the boarder

    ….but not the wealthy international tax evaders

    …hypocrisy MUCH!

  23. joe90 24

    Craig Murray poops the party.

    Unfortunately the leaker has made the dreadful mistake of turning to the western corporate media to publicise the results. In consequence the first major story, published today by the Guardian, is all about Vladimir Putin and a cellist on the fiddle. As it happens I believe the story and have no doubt Putin is bent.

    But why focus on Russia? Russian wealth is only a tiny minority of the money hidden away with the aid of Mossack Fonseca. In fact, it soon becomes obvious that the selective reporting is going to stink.

    […]

    Expect hits at Russia, Iran and Syria and some tiny “balancing” western country like Iceland. A superannuated UK peer or two will be sacrificed – someone already with dementia.

    The corporate media – the Guardian and BBC in the UK – have exclusive access to the database which you and I cannot see. They are protecting themselves from even seeing western corporations’ sensitive information by only looking at those documents which are brought up by specific searches such as UN sanctions busters. Never forget the Guardian smashed its copies of the Snowden files on the instruction of MI6.

    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/04/corporate-media-gatekeepers-protect-western-1-from-panama-leak/

    • maui 24.1

      +1, I saw it on the news and thought it was funny that we got to see Putin painted as the devil again – like we always do by the likes of the BBC and our own media that regurgitates it. Meanwhile thousands of rich, influential westerners walk free so far.

      • miravox 24.1.1

        ” thought it was funny that we got to see Putin painted as the devil again”

        I just thought the biggest headline went to the biggest fish that has been caught out. Happened to be Putin (I’m not saying there wouldn’t have been a bit of glee expressed at that). On The Guardian front page there are specific, smaller headlines for Iceland, Hong Kong and FIFA.

        I guess the next few days will show if that headline was bias when we see the level of attention that gets paid to the likes of David Cameron’s dad.

        Not that I like linking to it, but the Daily Mail has a headline with a much more diverse selection of those caught in the net

        • Colonial Viper 24.1.1.1

          The Guardian hit on Putin was a classic though. Putin is connected to some old friends who are connected to some old friends who are connected to people who move a lot of money around tax havens, shell companies and nominee directors.

          Regardless, I have no doubt that Putin has pocketed a lot of wealth on the way up the ladder, and that he has kept himself in power by spreading that wealth around a core group of Moscow players, enabling his ‘team’ to go toe to toe pressuring Russian oligarchs, corporations etc.

          • miravox 24.1.1.1.1

            Putin does make it quite easy to hit – maybe because of those friends and networks you mention. Also possibly because he knows how to play the popularity game back home. He can manage the fall-out so maybe isn’t as careful as he could be.

            The Cameron Sr stuff is out, the story reads like it has had the lawyers all over it. It seems Cameron Jr was a bit risk averse so he should survive this.

            I’m especially enjoying the Ukraine story – because it involves the NATO-backed leader, and also because of a bit of a ‘where have I heard this before moment?’ The excuses and methods sound much like Whitechapel/Aldgate trusts – which of course, won’t be caught up in this leak because USians don’t use Panamanian financial and legal services.

            • Colonial Viper 24.1.1.1.1.1

              Poor old Ukraine is the meat in the sandwich. Russia wants Ukranian politicians in charge who have been bought by the Kremlin. NATO wants Ukranian politicians in charge who have been bought by the USA.

              The actual Ukranian people – no one cares about them. Especially not their political “leadership.”

              • miravox

                A heartfelt ‘yes’ to that one.

                I’ve met a few people here who have escaped that quagmire. There are parallels with Poland last century, I think.

  24. katipo 25

    Typical internal memo for the 1%’s spin doctors & PR companies : Due to recent increased workflows..
    1. “All new staff leave applications will be placed on hold until further notice.”
    2. “Next weeks team building exercise has been cancelled.”
    3. “We will be using Davids office for recruitment interviews over the following weeks”

  25. NZJester 26

    They do pay a sort of tax in New Zealand but not to the New Zealand tax coffers, they pay it to their sponsor The National Party via anonymous donation and cabinet club dinners.
    Just look at how much the National party receives yearly in Anonymous donations.
    If the anonymous donations loopholes got fixed the tax loopholes would also be fixed very quickly.

  26. Penny Bright 27

    What role has NZ Prime Minister John Key played in New Zealand’s new international status as ‘the quiet tax haven achiever’?

    How much has New Zealand’s perceived status as the (now) fourth ‘least corrupt country in the world’ helped in achieving our new international status as ‘the quiet tax haven achiever’ ?

    How many ‘politically exposed persons’ from NZ may be ‘politically exposed’ in this massive ‘whistle-blowing’ leak?
    ______________________________________________________

    The Panama papers: NZ – the quiet tax haven achiever

    What are the Panama Papers?
    by Neil Chenoweth

    When New Zealand Prime Minister John Key flew into Malta for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in November 2015, he already knew he shared some important views with his host, Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, about the importance of keeping the tax secrets of foreign investors.

    Both countries are quiet achievers in the ranks of global tax havens, and both are determined to keep it that way.

    While Malta has been fiercely resisting pressure to close tax avoidance loopholes used by foreign companies, including Australian firms, to move profits out of the European Union, New Zealand has fought just as hard to protect its laws that make foreign profits tax-free and invisible for beneficiaries of its offshore trusts.

    But what Key didn’t know, as he and Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull mingled with Muscat at CHOGM, was how deep those links really ran.

    4 Corners: The Secrets of the Super Rich

    Just weeks earlier, Muscat’s chief-of-staff, Keith Schembri, and Malta’s energy minister, Konrad Mizzi, had used New Zealand’s secrecy laws to set up two offshore trusts. These were to be linked to a secret Dubai bank account and to two Panama companies that Schembri and Mizzi had set up in 2013 through a Panamanian law firm.

    The revelation of the New Zealand trusts has triggered ongoing crisis for Muscat’s government, but it also increases pressure on New Zealand to tighten its tax loophole for foreign trusts.

    New Zealand’s 12,000-plus offshore trusts pay no New Zealand tax on foreign earnings. Their beneficiaries are not registered and their accounts are not filed with any public body. New Zealand regulators may demand this information, but it is not disclosed to foreign governments.

    Details of the Malta controversy, and its New Zealand connections, have emerged from 11.5 million tax haven records obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and more than 100 other media partners worldwide.
    …..
    ___________________________________

    Penny Bright
    2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

  27. Richard@Down South 28

    I wonder if NZ will step up…

    http://www.bbc.com/news/business-35957178

    “The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is investigating more than 800 individual taxpayers, all residents of Australia.

    They have been identified as high net wealth clients of a law firm in Panama. “

  28. DaiViet 29

    How ironical that banks in New Zealand had to spend millions of dollars to implement processes to comply with the Anti Money Laundering and Financing Terrorism Act, while our Prime Minister is stealing the money from the tax payers with impunity.

  29. UncookedSelachimorpha 30

    This is a huge and important story. I expect FJK and Hoskers will be super relaxed about this.

    Amazingly (or perhaps, not so amazingly), no stories at all on the Stuffed website homepage about this at the moment! The NZ Herald has a few stories, to their credit.

  30. Gristle 31

    Mr Key has spun the story that a recent OECD review of the NZ tax system gave it a clean bill of health. So in reality there is no story here, and if there was a story it would be about what a wonderful job he has been doing.

    Funny that in the second page of that 2014 report that Foriegn Owned Trusts is raised as an issue that affects the NZ tax base and is recommended by the OECD that these should be sorted out.

    Do reporters not even bother to check out these type claims.

    • logie97 31.1

      … yep, because Jokey Hen has assured us that there is nothing to worry about, then we needn’t. Would be interesting to know how many of the sycophantic Nat supporters would buy a car from the prick. Bet if you were to ask them, they would feel they had to answer yes but with fingers/legs and everything else crossed.
      Can see this one becoming another to add to BLIP’s list before long.

  31. linda 32

    sounds like national are in this donkey deep key didn’t seen to want answer quiestions do think the prick is involved

  32. Macro 33

    “NZ Tax Haven Inc – of the 0.01%, by the 0.01%, for the 0.01%”

    FIFY

    Only the seriously uber rich need apply.

    Johnny’s not interested in anyone else.

  33. pat 34

    Key lies again…

    “New Zealand’s prime minister, John Key, has defended his government’s tax record after the Panama Papers showed links to the country connected to alleged offshore trusts set up by Maltese politicians and officials via New Zealand. Key told reporters:

    “New Zealand has had the same tax laws when it comes to trusts since 1988, they were reviewed by the OECD in 2013 and they gave New Zealand a clean bill of health. We also have extensive disclosure regimes and we are signatories to a network of treaties.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/news/live/2016/apr/04/panama-papers-global-reaction-to-huge-leak-of-offshore-tax-files-live

    “Foreign investors in a New Zealand fund with only foreign investments will now bear no New Zealand tax on their income, whether or not the fund distributes that income. The tax change, which came into force in September 2011, should make New Zealand managed funds an attractive alternative to funds resident in Luxembourg, Ireland or the Caymans.”

    http://www.chapmantripp.com/publications/Pages/New-Zealand-now-an-attractive-tax-location.aspx

  34. Draco T Bastard 35

    Corporate Media Gatekeepers Protect Western 1% From Panama Leak

    The Suddeutsche Zeitung, which received the leak, gives a detailed explanation of the methodology the corporate media used to search the files. The main search they have done is for names associated with breaking UN sanctions regimes. The Guardian reports this too and helpfully lists those countries as Zimbabwe, North Korea, Russia and Syria. The filtering of this Mossack Fonseca information by the corporate media follows a direct western governmental agenda. There is no mention at all of use of Mossack Fonseca by massive western corporations or western billionaires – the main customers. And the Guardian is quick to reassure that “much of the leaked material will remain private.”

    You know how Kiwiblog and other RWNJ media outlets have been harping on about how much tax the rich pay. Well, now you know why. It’s because they’re still not paying the amount that they should be.

  35. Chooky 36

    This is interesting …a backgrounder on the firm Mossack Fonseca…that begun it all …and what it really is about in the Panama Papers

    ‘PANAMA PAPERS: MOSSACK FONSECA TIED TO NAZIS, CIA & MEXICAN DRUG LORDS’

    http://geopolitics.co/2016/04/04/panama-papers-mossack-fonseca-tied-to-nazis-cia-mexican-drug-lords/

    …” this is not a story about which super wealthy individuals did everything in their power, both legal and illegal, to avoid taxes, preserve their financial anonymity, and generally preserve their wealth. After all, that’s what they do, and it should not come as a surprise that they will always do that, especially following last year’s disclosure by the same ICIJ which revealed a list of 100,000 HSBC clients who had been dutifully avoiding the payment of taxes.

    What the story is about is the nebulous world of offshore tax evasion and tax havens, which based on data from the World Bank, IMF, UN, and central banks, hide between $21 and $32 trillion, where registered incorporation agents and law firms in small Caribbean countries (and not so small US states) make the laundering of money and the “disappearance” of the super wealthy, into untracable numbers hidden behind shell companies, possible…”

    ( Helena pointed this paper out on the Daily Blog
    http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2016/04/04/the-mossack-fonseca-papers-key-has-built-nz-into-a-tax-haven/ )

  36. Penny Bright 37

    Is New Zealand a tax haven?

    If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck .. ?

    Seen this?

    http://www.taxhavens.biz/other_tax_havens/tax_haven_new_zealand/

    Tax Haven New Zealand
    Home / Other Tax Havens / Tax Haven New Zealand

    New Zealand is located in the Pacific Ocean on the southeast coast of Australia. The population of New Zealand is approximately 4.3 million people. Over the years New Zealand has developed into a country which helps clients tax advantage of international tax planning. New Zealand has a very well developed economy. The country depends mainly on free trade with its main export industries being agriculture, forestry and fishing. Tourism also makes a significant contribution to ht economy of the island nation.

    Although New Zealand is said not to be a tax haven there are certain features which make people associate the jurisdiction with tax havens. The fact that the country has offshore services which includes offshore business entities and offshore trust formation tend to qualify New Zealand as a tax haven.

    As a tax haven New Zealand has a business structure in place which allows clients to save on corporate and income taxes which are levied on corporations. The New Zealand limited partnership company can be structured to operate as an offshore business entity. An offshore corporation incorporated in New Zealand pays no local taxes if all its earnings are accumulated outside of the country. A New Zealand need not have partners who are citizens of the country.

    New Zealand as a tax haven has certain laws which in common with some of the world top tax havens. For example the names and information of the limited partners in a limited partnership is not made public hence providing privacy for these individuals. Privacy is one of the basic characteristics of every tax haven. The Limited Partnership act of New Zealand does not obligate limited partnership companies to file annual audits with the tax authority in the tax haven. The laws obligate the limited partnership top prepare its audits but they do not have to be made public information.

    In the jurisdiction of New Zealand a Special Purpose Company can be formed which can be structured to operate as an offshore company. A New Zealand is a company which acts as a trustee for a non resident New Zealand Company. This type of company will pay no taxes on income gained outside of the jurisdiction. A New Zealand Company is free to operate bank accounts and do business anywhere in the world.

    Another entity commonly found in tax haven and also available in New Zealand is a New Zealand offshore trust company. The jurisdiction of New Zealand has a very good reputation for having a very good economy and political stability. This makes the country one of the best offshore jurisdictions to own an offshore trust in. The New Zealand offshore trust was first introduced in 1988 and is widely used as offshore vehicles. There are many benefits to opening an offshore trust in New Zealand. Offshore trusts are not taxed on income earned outside of the country.

    To the residents of many of the worlds more developed countries New Zealand may seem to be a tax haven for the simple reason that the jurisdiction has very low tax rate compared to other countries of the world. The government authorities in the jurisdiction have lowered the corporate tax rate from 33% to 30% increasing the country’s ability to competitive with other countries. The low corporate tax rate in New Zealand makes the country very attractive to business investors. Non residents of New Zealand mat find their taxation system very appealing. Non residents to the country pay no taxes on foreign sourced income. These persons will only pay taxes on income earned in New Zealand.

    New Zealand as a tax haven has no capital gains tax for both individual and corporations. In addition the country has signed double tax treaties with many countries including Australia, the United States of America, Canada, Singapore, Austria, South Africa, China, France and many other nations. What this does is remove many tax impediments and prevents investors from paying double tax.

    As a tax haven New Zealand also offers offshore banking for corporations and individuals. Though not very popular New Zealand offshore banking has banking secrecy laws in place to protect the information which is regarded as private in offshore bank accounts in the tax haven.

    New Zealand is one of the safest places to consider when investing abroad. The country has stable political and economical systems. The jurisdiction although it offers offshore services and advantages has not been targeted or black listed as a harmful tax haven. The laws which govern offshore entities in New Zealand are very modern and are up to par with its more developed offshore counterparts. The assets placed in New Zealand offshore entities are well protect by New Zealand laws. The tax haven of New Zealand is very helpful for persons who are considering reducing their tax liabilities.

    ……
    __________________________________________________

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption Public Watchdog’
    2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate

  37. TheBlackKitten 38

    I hate to be the one that puts the cat amoungst the pigeons but how long have these tax loopholes been open for and how long have these foreign companies been taking advantage of our tax loopholes. My question is was it going on pre 2008?

    • pat 38.1

      In NZ since 2011 when the rules around non resident trusts were changed

      • miravox 38.1.1

        I’m wondering if the ease of registering a company in NZ part of the attraction as well?

        • Chooky 38.1.1.1

          not so much the “ease”….as the “secrecy” as to who is behind these international companies and whether they are morally and legally legitimate

  38. Sabine 39

    Wikileaks Poll on Panama Papers

    https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/716772373408718849

    those that have a twitter account might want to participate 🙂

  39. Claire 40

    Leaders were elected who had close ties to the corrupt US monetary system after Enron, sub prime went down. These guys were sent to lead countries and sign them up to FTD’s therefore becoming embedded and colonised by corporate pay back. The poor never really have a debt crisis because they live in one. They can only go up. However we only hear of economic problems when the 1% gamble all their money and loose. These tax havens are really our investments that went down in these market crashes. where was the Madoff billions secreted?

  40. Investigative journalism has brought the Panama Papers to light. It took a year for these journalists to hide important documents and finances of the rich personalities. This is by far the biggest ‘leak’ of sensitive and confidential information after Edward Snowden’s. It has implicated not only the business people, but dictators, sportspeople, celebrities, etc who are avoiding people snooping around their so-called ‘riches’. There will be some information made known publicly; while there will be some that will be ‘by-request’. I can’t wait for this saga to unfold.

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